Kaikoura Adventures Part One

Before we get to the latest’s pics from our excellent NZ adventure, we need to add one that we forgot to post on Monday. After taking some quick sunset pics at the lighthouse, we got back in the car and headed back into Wellington city to dine at the fantastic Moonsoon Poon. Talk about a place that doesn’t take itself too seriously. (Check out their website to see what we mean.) We were first introduced to the ‘Poon (remember what we said about that mind πŸ˜‰ by Angela and Webster in Auckland, so we decided spending our last night in the North Island at their original location in Wellington was fitting. Bill got the Firecracker Chicken, which is ranked 20 on a hotness scale of 1-10, and Anne delved into her tasty Golden Lemon Chicken with coconut rice. So tasty in fact she had it at both locations. Definitely stop by if you ever find yourself down under!

One last shot in front of the lighthouse as the sun comes up.

Our adventure continued the next day as we boarded the inter-island ferry at the crack of dawn. We weren’t expecting much excitement before we even boarded the boat, but it found us anyway. After dropping Anne off with the bags to get in the looooonnnngggg check-in line (did we mention it’s Summer there?), Bill was returning the rental car to the parking lot (for some silly reason you have leave your N.Island car on the N.Island and then pick up your S.Island car on the S.Island) when another driver returning his rental, backed out of his space and hit Bill’s driver’s side door! Dude said he was blinded by the rising sun and couldn’t see so why he didn’t inch his way back just in case is beyond us. Thankfully, of course, Bill was fine and after they briefly exchanged info, we all made it onto the ferry on time. Unfortunately, after when we arrived in the S.Island three hours later, picked up our new car and told them about the damage, we found out we’re responsible for it, leaving it up to us to recover it from the other driver’s insurance. (Doubly unfortunately, we later learned that week that our U.S. auto insurance policy doesn’t cover us outside of the states and Puerto Rico. Note to readers who have wanderlust and travel overseas – check your car insurance policies before you go and make sure your rental car is covered!!) Yikes! Definitely NOT a charge we had budgeted for.

The ferry ride was nice and we had even had wi-fi coverage. Because of this though, I think, we found ourselves arriving at the Picton dock having not taken any photos during the journey. Doh! Truth be told, though, it was really nice just spending the trip relaxing, reading and playing games on our iPhones. Plus we needed to rest up for another long drive ahead. Our plans called for us to head south from Picton to Kaikoura about four hours away. What we didn’t realize is that those four hours seem to be calculated for flat, straight roads, something definitely on the endangered species list in the South Island! What’s a little motion sickness, though when you can get shots like these along the way.

We finally made it to Kaikoura just as the sun was getting nice and low in the sky. When the sun came out that day anyway!

The chimney remaining from the old port before it was moved closer to it’s current location closer to town.

We saw this amazing light as we crested a hill and ran to get the shot before the clouds moved away!

Bill got up early the next day to catch first light and grabbed the photo above, and this amazing shot below looking down on the outskirts of town just as the sun was starting to hit Mt. Fyffe.

Did we mention there are LOTS of cows…

and sheep everywhere?! πŸ™‚

It was gorgeous sunrise, but unfortunately the chilly clouds rolled in and our whale watching adventure for the day was canceled due to high winds and very rough seas. So we did what a lot of people do and ate and drank our sorrows away!

Tune in later this afternoon for Part Two of Kaikoura adventures!